Things to do in Bulgaria

Our most recommended things to do in Bulgaria

From Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Small Group Tour

1. From Sofia: Rila Monastery & Boyana Church Small Group Tour

Depart Sofia at 09:00 AM sharp, and relax on the 2-hour drive to the Rila Monastery in the Rila Mountains. Upon arrival, explore the largest and most important Orthodox cloister in Bulgaria. Admire the arcaded balconies, and discover unique frescoes by one of the most famous painters of the Bulgarian National Revival period. See gilded iconostasis and enjoy the fabulous mountain views. Hear the story of the monastery from your guide before enjoying some time to explore the monastic complex on your own. Learn more at the museum, or purchase souvenir icons and other items in the nearby shops. Take some time to refuel with lunch at one of the local restaurants, where you can purchase local specialties such as mekitsi (a traditional Bulgarian dish of kneaded dough made with yogurt that is deep-fried). Depart at 01:30 PM and travel to Boyana Church in the suburbs of Sofia. See the historically significant frescoes of the Byzantine building, and hear how they started the fashion for illustrating biblical figures with emotions and placing them alongside the local aristocracy. With an estimated arrival time at the church of approximately 03:40 PM, enjoy about 30 minutes to explore. Leave at around 04:10 PM for the drive to Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia city center by 04:30 PM to 05:00 PM.

From Sofia: Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip

2. From Sofia: Rila Monastery and Boyana Church Day Trip

Experience the religious history of Bulgaria on a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Rila Monastery and Boyana Church from Sofia. Follow your guide around the monastery to learn about this epic site or choose to explore it on your own before viewing Boyana Church's ancient frescoes. Meet your friendly group for the day near Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Settle down in your seat and set off out of the city as you drive along scenic roads with picturesque views of rural Bulgaria. Arrive at Rila Monastery, the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in the country. If you've booked the tour, follow your guide around the historic site and learn about the main frescoes. If you're an explorer you can visit the museum, take photos, and check out the church at your own pace. Then start your journey back to Sofia with one more important stop along the way. Enter the medieval Boyana Church and stroll within the ancient walls, studying the artistic frescoes which make this place so special.

From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery Self-Guided Trip

3. From Sofia: 7 Rila Lakes and Rila Monastery Self-Guided Trip

Depart Sofia in the morning and travel by shuttle bus with a friendly English-speaking driver. Journey in air-conditioned comfort to Panichishte in the beautiful Rila National Park. Get briefed on arrival by your driver, who will tell you the different options and routes you can take up the mountain. Ride the chairlift to the 7 Rila Lakes, where you will get 5 hours of free time to go on some amazing nature walks independently to experience the glacial lakes from different perspectives. Board the shuttle bus at the agreed meeting point and relax on the 2-hour drive to Rila Monastery in a deep valley of the Rilska River. Founded in the 10th century, the monastery complex is regarded as one of Bulgaria's most important cultural and historical monuments. Get 1.5 hours to explore the largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria at your own pace. Then, return to Sofia in the evening and get dropped off at the meeting point.

Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

4. Day Tour from Sofia to Skopje, North Macedonia

Discover Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, on this full-day trip from Sofia. During this day tour to Skopje, you will have the chance to explore the city's highlights and hear its rich history and culture from your guide.  Be picked up from your accommodation in Sofia and board an airconditioned vehicle. Relax, and take in the countryside on the transfer to Skopje. Once in Skopje, begin your walking tour of the at Skopje Fortress. Admire sweeping views of the city from the fortress before heading to the Church of the Holy Savior, home to fantastic iconostasis. Continue towards the Sultan Murat Mosque and the Old Bazaar, where you can witness the remnants from Ottoman Period.  Listen as your guide tells you about Skopje's history as one of the main trade centers in the Balkans. Stop a typical Macedonian restaurant where you can purchase a delicious lunch before crossing the Vadar River explore the other side of the city.  Visit the new neo-classical square and continue to the Mother Teresa memorial house. End your walking tour at the newly built triumphal arch Porta Macedonia. Journey back to Sofia and be dropped off at your hotel or accommodation. 

Bansko: Thermal Pool Escape

5. Bansko: Thermal Pool Escape

Located in the village of Banya, these thermal pools are only a 15-minute ride away from Bansko. The mineral thermal pools are open daily at 11:00AM in the morning. Your experience will begin as you depart from the rental shop at a time of your choosing (after 10:30AM). At your disposal are 3 pools with natural mineral water from the nearby thermal springs: Thermal pool number 1: the big main pool where the water isn’t unbearably hot and great for swimming; Thermal pool number 2: a smaller pool which is shallow and warmer where your children can safely enjoy the benefits of mineral water and those of you who cannot swim can comfortably relax; Thermal pool number 3: a really hot pool, where the water temperature is well over 40 degrees Celsius, but at the same time nice (and not to mention healthy) There are changing rooms right next to the pool and a restaurant at your disposal, and at the conclusion of your experienced you will be returned to your point of origin.

Borovets: Snowmobile Adventure

6. Borovets: Snowmobile Adventure

Your exciting experience will start at a time having been chosen by you in the booking process. Your guide will meet you in front of the Rila Hotel in Borovets, from where you will advance towards the location where your activity will be taking place. Your event lasts for an hour, with 5-10 minutes of safety instructions included in that time. Once on the road, you'll be driving the snowmobile on a track whilst following your instructor, who will be in charge of the safety of the entire group. The use of helmet and goggles is obligatory, but are also included in the price. Your ride will take you though the snowy tracks of the Borovets forest area, before later concluding at the starting point of the activity.

From Sofia: Shuttle Tour to Rila Monastery & Boyana Church

7. From Sofia: Shuttle Tour to Rila Monastery & Boyana Church

The tour departs early in the morning in front of Alexander Nevski. Your first stop will be the great UNESCO Boyana Church located on the outskirts of Sofia consisting of three buildings. The eastern church was built in the 10th-century, then enlarged at the beginning of the 13th by Sebastocrator Kaloyan, who ordered a second two-story building to be erected next to it. After exploring it, head to Rila Monastery, where you will admire the impressive architecture, frescoes and learn about the history of the monastery from your guide. During the guided tour in the inner yard and the monastery museum, discover the most precious pieces that are kept from the past and all the facts and stories about the largest Bulgarian monastery complex. After your monastery tour, enjoy about 2.5 hours of free time for food and shopping.

From Bansko: Horse Riding Experience

8. From Bansko: Horse Riding Experience

Start your day of adventure by arriving at the meeting location at your selected time slot. Upon arrival, enjoy a pleasant meet and greet with the local staff who will direct you to your drive. After a scenic, 15-minute drive to the nearby small town of Dobrinishte, you'll arrive at the horse ranch where you'll meet your instructor for this experience. Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned pro, this tour is perfect for you. For beginners, you'll learn the basics of horse riding and ride in a closed field. If you are more experienced at horse riding, you can explore the countryside with your instructor. When you complete the activity, you'll be driven back to Bansko, returned safely to the original starting location.

Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes Snowshoe Walk & Thermal Spring Pools

9. Sofia: Seven Rila Lakes Snowshoe Walk & Thermal Spring Pools

Dramatic landscapes and breathtaking alpine sceneries, centuries old pine forests and rugged mountain peaks make the Seven Rila Lakes circuit one of the most beautiful areas in the Rila Mountains National Park. Enjoy a gentle snowshoe walk in the picturesque Seven Rila Lakes area followed by relaxation in the thermal water pools of Sapareva Banya Spa Resort, fed by one of the hottest springs in Europe. All this within a day tour from Sofia. Your guide will pick you up early in the morning from your hotel in Sofia for a wonderful journey to the Rila Mountains. You will arrive within 1.5-hours to Pionerska Mountain Hut from where you will take a chairlift to Rila Lakes Hut, situated high above the tree line at 2150 meters above sea level. The walk will begin from the hut in the direction of the Kidney, the third of the Seven Rila Lakes. Along the way, admire breathtaking alpine sceneries of jagged peaks and frozen mountain lakes. After a short break and a cup of warm tea at the lake, you will head toward Rila Lakes Hut and descend via the chairlift to the van and have a short transfer (20 minutes) to Sapareva Banya Spa Resort, where you will be able to relax deeply in the thermal pools fed by hot spring waters.

Sofia: Lovech, Devetaki Cave and Krushuna Waterfalls Tour

10. Sofia: Lovech, Devetaki Cave and Krushuna Waterfalls Tour

Your tour begins as you are picked up from your hotel/accommodation in Sofia. After an approximately 2-hour drive, you will reach Lovech. From there you will begin exploring the old quarter of the city. You will walk through the small cobbled streets, traveling back in time as you admire the typical 14th-century houses. You will then take a detailed trip to the Vassil Levski Museum, before continuing your walk to the Hisarya Fortress. The last site in the town to which you will pay attention is the famous Covered Bridge, a masterpiece of Bulgarian architecture which was built by Master Kolio Ficheto. Following the bridge, you will continue your trip with a 20-minute drive to your next stop, Devetashka Cave. Once there you will have some time to walk around the stunning cave, and will proceed to the Krushuna Waterfalls (a 20-minute drive from Devetashka Cave). There you will discover a unique natural wonder where you can take a walk through the beautiful forest and along the stream that has formed this beautiful cascade of blue waterfalls. Following this waterfall visit, your tour will then end with drop off at your point of origin.

Other Sightseeing Options in Bulgaria

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What people are saying about Bulgaria

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 3,553 reviews

Really enjoyed Boyana Church, small but so beautiful, and the monastery is well worth the trip. Bus left on time and was comfortable. Everything was well organised. My only tip is that there are no toilets open where the busses leave from so ensure you use a toilet elsewhere before you get on the bus !

Guide was very nice and funny. Provided maps for the hike & monastery and then we were left to explore at our own pace. There was plenty of time to complete the full hike and to enjoy our packed lunches at the end.

So much fun - Friday night worked really well as a solo traveller, met some great people, real range of ages and nationalities.

Although the long hours, Very nice and comfortable van to travel with

Sure it was a great adventure with amazing views ...I recommend it